with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
So, remember when I was agonizing over portable wireless, and whether or not I really needed it, and perhaps even wondering if I would ever learn how to take a real vacation where I, you know, stop working.
Honestly, I was still on the fence. My husband was researching campgrounds that offer wireless internet. I was still thinking that $60/month was a little unnecessary, deductible business expense or not.
And then it happened. I read about the new MiFi portable Hot Spot. Now—to be fair—this is really no different for my uses than getting a wireless card for my laptop. It does exactly the same thing. Except that it also allows for up to five users to get online at a time, which suddenly made it seem more reasonable. Because both my husband and I could use it. And the kids, even. It’s for the family while I work, really.
Also? It is extremely shiny. Ahem.
After some thought and discussion, it was decided that yes, this would be a reasonable business investment. (And by “reasonable business investment” I mean that my husband said, “Sweet!”) Having this device would mean that I could stop freaking out about traveling this summer (and beyond), and that’s a very good thing. And so I went online to order it.
The Verizon website is very well put together; ordering was a snap, and I got my order confirmation immediately.
Half an hour later, I got an email informing me that my order was on hold. I could call the office during normal business hours to find out what was going on. Great! Except… it was Sunday. I dutifully waited until 8:00 Monday morning and then I called in to find out what the issue was. A nice young woman told me that they would be only too happy to process my order, as soon as I went ahead and faxed them a copy of my driver’s license and social security card.
Um. No. When I explained that I thought that was a bit excessive to authorize my purchase of a $100 device, she said that she wasn’t sure, but it looked like there was a flag on my credit, and they needed further proof that I’m who I say I am.
[Sidebar: Have you met me? Have you read me? What are the chances, you suppose, of my credit being lousy or of my credit having been hijacked without my knowing? I mean, seriously. I knew this was an error.]
I could not convince the nice young woman that this must be some sort of error, and I had to leave the house and really didn’t have time to argue with her. “What if I go into an actual Verizon store?” I finally asked. “Would they sell it to me without all of that?”
“Oh!” she said, “Probably!” I thanked her, asked her to cancel my order, and hung up.
Later that day, I went to my local Verizon store. Except my local Verizon store is no longer there. Doh!
I came home and called Verizon. I got another nice young woman, and explained to her about the original order, the earlier phone call, and the missing Verizon store. “I would just like to give you some money,” I said. “Is there some way we can clear this up?”
“Well, Ma’am,” she said (oh how I hate it when people call me ma’am), “We could sell it to you right now with a $400 deposit and no credit check, if you like.” (Um. No. I do not like.) “There’s a problem with your credit,” she told me, when I declined the security deposit. “The only other option is for you to contact TransUnion to take care of it.” She gave me the phone number and bid me good luck.
I called TransUnion in a tizzy, imagining all sorts of catastrophes. My identity had been stolen! Something from my ex-husband was somehow showing up on my credit report! My name had never been changed with the credit union! The possible scenarios swirled around in my brain as I went through the various steps with the nice TransUnion rep.
Turns out, my credit info is just fine. Right name, right address, right score. No problems whatsoever. And? Verizon had never even checked my credit.
This was where I started losing my patience.
I called Verizon again, and this time asked to speak to a supervisor in the credit department. This time I was routed to Gary, and Gary—lord love him—seems to be the only Verizon employee with a functioning brain stem. He listened to my tale and started clicking around on my computer, and after asking me various questions about past addresses and such, decided that I am indeed who I claim I am. He then assured me that my credit was cleared and I could complete my order, he’d just transfer me back over to the right person.
He transferred me to the wrong person. (Oh, Gary! I thought we had something! So close, Gary. So close.) She, however, transferred me to another wrong person, and then that person transferred me to the right person.
That last phone call with Verizon took forty minutes, and at the end of it I was a quivering mass of frustration, but my MiFi is now ordered.
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